Put A Bird On It – Making Tree Decorations from Recycled Plastic

BirdonBeach2013-06 (18)Put a Bird on It

Making Upcycled Tree Decorations

Come and learn several techniques for creating birds (peace doves) for Christmas or Solstice trees from recycled plastic. We will create some simple birds using tin snips and sharpies. Mary will demonstrate and discuss techniques for using other tools such as a heat gun for fancy birds. She’ll show examples of other art made from recycled plastic to inspire your creativity. You’ll meet some neighbours, have some fun and learn some things about recycling and art-making.

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Make a Familiar from a Familiar Coffee Bag

We’re making crows from coffee bags. If you plan to be a witch for Hallowe’en here’s a great way to create your personal familiar.


Cut ends off the 5-lb coffee bag (Ask your favorite coffee shop if they get their coffee in bags like these.)

Fold lengthwise, and cut along one edge.







Cut a triangle out of the

IMG_20131015_154626 centre and pull it out. This will be your crow’s head.



Pull out the triangle for the head, and fold along the middle.




Cut out wings and tail.

Clip along to make a fringe/feathers on both as you wish.



I tied a raffia bow on his tail.






I punched two holes in the top and threaded some fishing line through so I could hang him.

Then I punched hopes for eyes.


This is your basic bird.

Yours might have further enhancements.

The coffee bags are not recyclable because they are plastic and foil fused together. our experience is that coffee shops are eager to have them transformed into art. Lessens the guilt factor.


Stay tuned for spiders and bats. Maybe even black cats.

The Demise of PETE, the PolyEthylene Bird – RIP Good Bird

IMG_0897[1]Early Tuesday I had a call from Bruce who lives at Heritage Harbour: The bird has flown away home. And not long after,he’s at the beach behind the parking lot near the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

We were surprised at how scratched up and torn apart his “bones” were.

Here are some photos of PETE laid to rest.

He is being recycled –  a green burial.


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PETE, The PolyEthylene Bird, is a bit lower in the water

peteLOW IN WATERPETE, The PolyEthylene Bird, is a bit lower in the water but he’s afloat and moored to the hula hoop on the piling in Heritage Harbour.

His beak is down – feeling a little sad not to have his friends around, or perhaps just looking for something to eat.

Once these very blustery days are through for a while, we’ll organize a work party to go down and see what we can do to get him riding high again.


PETE, the PolyEthylene Bird, is Swimming in the Harbour

PETE. the PolyEthelene Bird, is Swimming in the Harbour.

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PETE the PolyEthylene Bird – Launch Minus One Day

Pete2013-09-28 (3)Here are photos from the basement of the Vancouver Maritime Museum on the day before the Launch Date/Worldwide Bird Art Installation Day.



Pete2013-09-28 (2)


It’s been quite the time trying to make a large, floating bird art installation without using anything except #2 HDPE plastic so it can be recycled after the fact.




Want to see PETE? He’ll be at the Heritage Harbour, back of Vancouver Maritime Museum for the month of October.

Pete2013-09-28 (5)Pete2013-09-28 (1)

Clean Bin Jen Tells Us How to Reduce Plastic


clean bin project jen grantFor our 4th and final Thursday night workshop, we’re pleased to present The Clean Bin Project.
In 2008, Jen got tired of taking out the trash and decided to live waste free. And she learned that sometimes less really is more. Is it possible to live without producing garbage? What are the recycling and reducing options in our area? Come hear practical tips to reduce your household waste, save money, and have fun at the same time.

Jen Rustemeyer

A spatial analyst by trade, Jenny is also a writer, producer, and zero-waster. She is the woman behind the clean bin project blog, and she produced the 2010 film of the same name which documented a year living zero waste. She has spoken around the world on the topic of recycling and waste reduction including a tour across Canada by bicycle with The Clean Bin Project documentary film. Jen spends her fair share of time both in front of and behind the camera, and can be found researching, recycling, and making things from scratch. She’s currently working on her second feature film called Just Eat It.

The Clean Bin Project -one year: no buying stuff, no producing garbage-
film: www.cleanbinmovie.com
blog: www.cleanbinproject.com
Thursday, September 26  7-8pm Vancouver Maritime Museum
Come early to help create a bird from recycled plastic and tour the gallery (by donation on Thursday nights from 5pm on)


MEDIA Release


Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC – Bird On The Beach, a community eco-art project initiated by a group of Kitsilano residents and supported by Vancouver Foundation and City of Vancouver, aims to get a giant bird sculpture built for the World Wide Bird Art Installation Day on Sunday, September 29 in order to create awareness on the dramatic increase in the amount of plastic found in the West Coast sea-birds.

A 2012 study showing the dramatic increase of plastic found in sea-birds that were washed ashore from Alaska to Oregon alerted the local artist/activist Mary Bennett and a group of Kitsilano residents to get together and plan Bird On The Beach. “Working with recycled plastic that could otherwise be in the ocean, we’re creating birds in honour of the Northern Fulmar, a sea-bird that has the unfortunate honour of being proposed as an indicator species for the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans,” says Bennett about the motivation behind the project.

Bird On The Beach will take place during the month of September and bring neighbours together for a series of workshops that will explore the effect of plastic pollution on seabirds. Each session will include a talk about the issue and art-making activities. Participants will collaborate to build a sculpture made from recycled materials, which will then be displayed at Heritage Harbour, behind the Vancouver Maritime Museum for the World Wide Bird Art Installation Day on Sunday, September 29.

For more information on World Wide Bird Art Installation Day: http://www.projectmailartbooks.com

For registration and more on Bird On The Beach: http://kitsecoarts.eventbrite.ca

Contact: Mary Bennett (Kits Eco-Arts) – 604 617 0142 – maryinvancouver@gmail.com

In partnership with Vancouver Maritime Museum
Funding through the Neighbourhood Small Grant Program funded by Vancouver Foundation and City of Vancouver and administered through Kits House

BC Beached Birds: Indicators of Plastic Pollution and other Environmental Conditions

BC Beached Birds: Indicators of Plastic Pollution and other Environmental Conditions

KarenBarryPhotoKaren Barry works for Bird Studies Canada (www.birdscanada.org) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from University of Waterloo and a Master’s Degree in Biology from University of Victoria.  At Bird Studies Canada,  Karen coordinates the BC Coastal Waterbird Survey and the BC Beached Bird Survey and manages other regional programs. She also helps coordinate the BC Important Bird Area program.  Karen lives in Nanaimo and is an avid birder with an interest in native plants, habitat restoration, and all things natural history.


Karen Barry will be the featured speaker this Thursday, September 5 at our first Bird on the Beach workshop.

Come at 6pm for an hour of art-making and to hear about the project. Karen will start her presentation promptly at 7pm. 

Tea and cookies by donation. Workshop free thanks to a Neighbourhood Small Grant. 

FREE – but please register here.


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